By: Gregg Kleiner
For 12 years, Lindsay Dec worked as a licensed massage therapist. She noticed that many of her
clients would talk during the massage — telling her stories about their lives and describing
challenges they were facing, from fears to family issues.
“People seemed to be looking to me for help or advice,” Dec says.
Because she didn’t feel qualified to do much more than listen, Dec started looking for a new
career that would give her the skills and credentials to help people in a new way — one that
could bridge the mind-body connection. During her search, she stumbled across the Master of
Counseling program at OSU-Cascades.
“When I found that, I just knew,” she says. “I wanted to continue to help others, so this was
The program’s location was also perfect, since Dec was already living in Bend, Oregon, where
she’d moved in 2010. The program’s part-time option allowed her to continue her massage
practice while pursuing a master’s degree.
She credits her parents with influencing her overall career path.
“They always taught us t
o help people, to foster connections with others, and my mom always
emphasized the golden rule,” Dec says.
In 2014, she earned her master’s in clinical mental health counseling and now works as a
counselor at Bend Counseling and Biofeedback Inc.
“The best part of the program was — and still is — the faculty,” Dec says. “They are just
amazing — the adjunct faculty, too. There is great breadth of experience and a range of
strengths. I felt very well-supported, and I’m still in contact with some of the faculty.”
While in the program, Dec completed three different internships — one at the Warm Springs
Indian Reservation, one at a Bend relief nursery for vulnerable children and one at the
counseling office where she now works. She also earned a certificate in Interpersonal
Neurobiology from Portland State University and completed HeartMath Biofeedback training
during her graduate program.
“It was a little insane,” she says of all she did while working on her master’s.
Now that her formal training is complete, Dec still stays busy. She serves on the OSU-Cascades’
Counseling Program Advisory Board and is raising a puppy named PJ to be a certified therapy
“Therapy dogs are great in nursing homes, and they can help kids who struggle with reading,”
says Dec, who brings PJ to the office with her. “My clients love her and say PJ is
going to make a great therapy dog.”
For Dec, OSU-Cascades was the right location with the right faculty and the right focus. And it’s
clear she loves her new career.